Ex-NFL HC Mike Smith believes it's high time league incorporates more full-time officials after AFC Championship game controversy (Exclusive)

AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals v Kansas City Chiefs
AFC Championship - Cincinnati Bengals vs Kansas City Chiefs

The Super Bowl matchup is set, but as it often seems, we are talking more about officials than anything else in the NFL game. After some calls where the Cincinnati Bengals could feel hard done by, which saw them miss out on their second straight Super Bowl trip, many have had their opinions on how to address the issue.

Perhaps one person best positioned to offer advice is former Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith. As someone who has been through the grind as an NFL coach, he said that the best way to address the issue is by having full-time referees. Speaking exclusively to Sportskeeda's "The BallFather Podcast", he said:

"I'd say yes wholeheartedly. I think you can't do it this as a part-time job. There's so many different dynamics that are going on, not only on game day, but rule changes and ways to get better. You know, we as a league, we try to get better.
We have offseason programs. But we're not like officials; we don't have second jobs. There are some full-time officials with the NFL right now. There's a handful that work for the league. But I think it would be a whole lot better if we went to full-time officials."

Mike Smith believes having full-time officials would be great for NFL grassroots

An additional benefit coach Smith highlighted is how there are issues in recruiting referees for football at the grassroots level. Making NFL refereeing a full-time job would make this a viable profession and create a pipeline for those who want to become referees and offer them better training and protection.


He elaborated:

"I think, it would help the pipeline and allow more people to be evaluated to become officials in the future because that it's a dying profession. Starting in the little leagues and midget football in the youth leagues. Nobody wants to be an official, and high schools are having to cancel games because they don't have officials or they're playing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday nights.
Not because there's no stadiums, it's because they don't have any officials. It's a real problem in football and just not in the NFL. And I think the NFL should take the lead in trying to help alleviate the problem at all levels."

Eventually, listening to his advice might be the best thing the NFL can do. Top players like Aaron Rodgers have echoed the same sentiment. Doing so might tamp down the speculation some football fans feel about the league being rigged.

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Edited by Bhargav
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